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How Credible is Psychology? Fiona O'Donovan


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Fiona O'Donovan, Waterford Institute of Technology, Psychology Matters Day.

However, in recent years, concerns have been steadily growing about how valid or ‘true’ some of these claims may be. Criticisms about scientific rigour are causing turmoil within the field. In 2015, over 270 social psychologists published the Reproducibility Project. 100 psychology experiments were repeated to see if they could generate the same result. Almost two-thirds of the studies failed to replicate.
In this talk, I will discuss the hallmarks of good science and how misaligned incentive systems can derail scientific progress. While fraud is rare, selective reporting, cherry picking data and poor analytic procedures are not uncommon. A positive outcome of this crisis has been a cultural shift in psychological science. More sophisticated techniques and a move towards openness and transparency have changed the landscape of psychological research and we are in the midst of what some are calling a scientific revolution.

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How Credible is Psychology? Fiona O'Donovan

  1. 1. How Credible is Psychology? PSI Psych Matters Day 2018 WIT Fiona O’ Donovan
  2. 2. Life hack: Power Posing Image licensed under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. 3. But is it really that simple?
  4. 4. How science should work Establish topic Review literature Form hypothesis Test with experiment Analyze results Hypothesis confirmed Hypothesis disconfirmed Report Replication
  5. 5. How it is to work in science Insecure employment Limited resources “Publish or perish” Journals want novel results File drawer problem P - hacking
  6. 6. Lies, damned lies, and statistics
  7. 7. Cultural Revolution in Psychological Science • Move towards open science and data sharing • e.g. Open Science Framework, Centre for Open Science, Pre prints, MOOCs, Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in Social Sciences • Renewed interest in scientific vigour • e.g. Metapsychology journal, Meta-Research Center at Tilburg University, Society for Improvement of Psychological Science, more sophisticated analyses • Replications are valued • Including adversarial collaborations • Accountability • e.g., GRIM (Granularity-Related Inconsistency of Mean) technique, Pubpeer • Reforming the publishing model • e.g. Registered reports
  8. 8. Registered Reports
  9. 9. Conclusion Failure is moving psychological science forward As psychologists we should be aware of our own biases Science is self correcting Science is hard!
  10. 10. Thank you @Fiona_od